You Can Now Insure Your Conceptual Art Collection

A conceptual artwork by Yoko Ono. Photo: via Art Asia Pacific.

What do you do if you lose the certificate of authenticity for your conceptual artwork? Up until now, your sole option was basically to cry and mourn the loss of whatever chunk of change you plunked down for it. But thanks to AIG Private Client Services and insurance advisor Crystal & Co., you can get that artwork insured along with the rest of your collection.

How does it work? In most fine art insurance policies, lost or damaged certificates of ownership can fall in a gray area—sometimes they are covered, but often they are not. In the case of conceptual artworks, the certificate is an essential component of the work, and without it the piece is considered worthless. In this policy, certificates are explicitly covered.

Artists like Robert Barry, Douglas Huebler, Joseph Kosuth, Sol LeWitt, and Lawrence Weiner pioneered in the creation of artworks that aimed to be minimally tied to their physical incarnation. They drew on precedents such as Yves Klein, who once exhibited an empty gallery as an artwork, and Marcel Duchamp, who said that his readymades “assigned a new idea” to the mass-produced physical objects that he chose and designated as art objects, such as a urinal.

Jonathan Crystal, the executive vice president of Crystal & Co. explains: “Since a piece of paper is often the only document essentially giving value to a work of conceptual art, we wanted to find a way to protect our clients’ investments even if something happens to their certificate.”

“Conceptual art collecting has increased in recent years, and as a result we have fielded more questions about policy contract coverage,” Crystal said.

And so, with the knowledge that your investment is safe, we urge you to go forth and purchase a Fluxus-inspired artwork or two (see Fluxus Alive and Kicking in SoHo at “Dematerialized Auction”), like maybe some works by Yoko Ono, who will soon have her own retrospective at New York’s Museum of Modern Art (see Yoko Ono To Have MoMA Solo Show in 2015).

Crystal & Co. maintains ten regional offices throughout the country. It is a member of Brokerslink, a global alliance of independent insurance brokerages. AIG Private Client Services is a division of AIG.


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